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Published: March 22nd 2018
After not much sleep at all I set off to the airport at 3:40AM (the cabs started to arrive at the hotel 15 minutes early and I didn't want to have people need to wait for me when they reached the airport). It was drizzling and I couldn't find my front light, but I was undeterred as I surmised there wouldn't be too much traffic at that hour, and I hoped the lights from the adjacent highway would illuminate the canal-side path sufficiently. I was right about the latter but wrong about the former, at least in Toulouse. After some nervous moments worrying about the state of those I was sharing the road with, I reached the path to Blagnac, where I discovered there was absolutely no street activity of any sort but where the rain intensified. Still, it was kind of neat to be riding alone at night: it was warm, my rain jacket kept me dry, and overall it was quite enjoyable. Finally, after a few false starts at finding the entrance to the airport (my lenses were fogging and covered with raindrops so it was hard to see the signs), I rode into the terminal and discovered I
had actually arrived ahead of the cabs,
Check-in that early (we were 3 hours ahead of our scheduled departure, which in any event had been pushed back a further 15 minutes and which in reality proved to be more like 1/2 hour) was a breeze, and we all subsequently settled into the usual airport routine of hurry up and wait i.e. consult electronics before finally heading off to our gate. There were a few tense moments as we discovered a long lineup waiting to pass through yet another passport control - manned by a lone officer - but ultimately we were processed, eventually boarded our flying metal tube (which incidentally had two screaming infants not far from where I was sitting that I swear were calling to each other in some sort of syncopated collaboration), and 7-1/2 hours later emerged into the humid flatland we call home. A further two-hours in the car and a long day of travelling (as well as over two weeks of vacation) finally came to an end.
A trip to France certainly makes you appreciate oft-overlooked niceties like smooth pavement and the relative dearth of diesel fumes and two-stroke engines here, but it's
definitely a lovely place to visit: you get respect on the road as a cyclist, some absolutely great scenery, wonderful people, cheap wine, good food, the price-you-see-is-the-price-you-pay (no tax-and-tip-to-be-added- later), fine weather, and windows you can leave open without screens. What's not to like?
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